New Xenaland
 
Other Locations
 

This page lists a few lesser-used locations outside the main areas, or that we don't have separate a page for. Basically, anything not covered in one of the other pages may possibly be found here.
 

Auckland Domain

Just a mile from the city centre, the Auckland Domain is a large park best known for the War Memorial Museum. I can't identify any Xena locations there, but the 'back to the present' sequence in the Cleo 2525 episode Reality Check was shot there. Just 100 yards downslope from the popular 'duckponds' on Domain Drive, alongside Lovers Lane, is a remarkably little-visited formal garden with an ornamental pond and statuary - that's the spot.

 
Skylines can be useful!
The first shot in the scene before the
camera pans down
Note the pointy-roofed building top left
Far more people than I've ever seen
here in reality
 
 
The actual spot, looking downslope
Note the building on the skyline, centre
This is more like the usual crowd

(It took me two years to find it - and I knew there was a pond there! What fooled me was the preceding truck-in-the-mall sequence which is near Manukau City Centre, miles away, and also the fact that the area looks level in the episode whereas I know the ground here is sloping. Just shows how deceptive appearances can be. Credit is due to Bevis King who spotted a distinctive pointed office building roof on the city skyline as we crossed the Harbour Bridge after searching unsuccessfully in Henderson and Takapuna - extending the line-of-sight to view the building from the 'other side' led directly to the Domain.)

Just for completeness - the truck-in-the-mall sequence, where Hel and Sarge confronted the very same cop who arrested Gabrielle in Clones, was in the mall at the 'Manukau Supa-Centa' between Cavendish Drive and Ronwood Avenue, just west of Manukau City Centre. That was easy - Bevis spotted a 'Harvey Norman' sign on a shopfront and it was just a matter of looking in the phone book.

Savage Memorial

A couple of miles further on, overlooking Tamaki Drive and giving good views over the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, is the Savage Memorial, a formal garden and pond fronting a mausoleum and obelisk dedicated to Michael Joseph Savage, the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand. This has only been used in one episode, the Hercules episode Wedding of Alcmene, but it's unmistakeable. We hope the ghost of Michael Joseph Savage wasn't offended by the cinematic goings-on around his monument.

Savage Memorial, with Rangitoto island on skyline


 

Murphys Bush

At Flat Bush, on the edge of the urban area south-east of Auckland, is Murphys Bush, a quarter-mile strip of native forest which escaped the attentions of farmers. Under the mature trees, thousands of young nikau palms are growing up, and the resulting absence of undergrowth below them makes them easy to walk through (in a sense, the nikau palms are the undergrowth).
Being right beside Murphys Road, it would have been convenient for access, and the ease of walking or running through the nikau palms would have been ideal for filming. Now, there is a lot of traffic noise from the road, but it was a lot less busy in those days.

This reserve was used for many episodes of Hercules, right from the very beginning (as discussed by Kevin Sorbo and Wayne Rose in the commentary to Encounter). Most probably, it would have been used quite frequently in Xena episodes too.

Obviously, the usual method of verifying locations - pick a distinctive isolated tree silhouette or rock face in the episode and match it visually with the original - is going to be extremely difficult here. But it's probably fair to assume that, if you walk through the bush from the car park (at the northern end) to the southern end and back, you will have walked 'through' many scenes from Herc and Xena.


From Hercules and the Amazon Women, nikau palm undergrowth and a clearing
Murphys Bush... thousands of nikau palms and one of several small clearings

Hunua Falls

Further on, 15 miles south-east of Auckland in the Hunua Ranges lies Hunua Falls, a waterfall on the Wairoa River. This featured in a number of episodes - for details see the new 'Waterfalls' page.



Drury Quarry

According to the commentary for Encounter, RenPics made extensive use of the area above a quarry at Drury. This has some small coppices and bordering grass areas, and can be seen in Encounter (where it matches well with the woodland of Murphys Bush in the same episode). At one side the ground drops away (with the quarry presumably invisible below the edge) to leave a vista of distant countryside through the gaps in the trees. Kevin Sorbo notes that the huge scattered rocks are real.

This is almost certainly the huge quarry on the edge of the scarp at Ramarama, just southeast of Drury. (So far as we know the quarry itself is never seen on the show, and should not be confused with the 'quarry' sets at Sturges Road or Lion Park. A real quarry was used in early Herc episodes such as Lost Kingdom and Gladiator, but is more likely to have been the partly-disused quarry on the Te Henga Road to Bethells).

Some of the location may have been quarried away by now, and it is all in private property, so this location is mentioned just for completeness.

A series of scans of the location from the episode Encounter are shown below.

A number of scenes in other episodes come to mind, which may have been shot here, but only some careful comparison of the backgrounds would confirm this.

The fight between Herc and Xena in The Gauntlet was probably shot here (unless there's another location that looks remarkably like this one):

Fairly certain are the first few 'outdoor' scenes in Maternal Instincts...

... and, more speculatively, the first appearance of Morrigan in Resurrection.





"Amazon valley"

Jumping back to the north-west of Auckland, but also in private property, Renpics have used a valley in the Bethells area extensively for the filming of Hercules and Xena episodes from Hercules and the Amazon Women onwards.

The best view of the valley can be obtained in the Hercules episode Let The Games Begin, where the camera tracks right round the valley. The lower part of the valley is an open grassy paddock, backed by a steep hill slope with scattered trees; this has been used, for example, in the confrontation with Caesar and the Ares scene in The Deliverer, and Xena talking to Boadicea in her chariot.


 
Two views from... Let The Games Begin Caesar tries his favourite game in The Deliverer
 

The upper part of the valley is surrounded by thick bush covering the slopes on all sides, with clearings in the valley bottom. In one of those clearings is, or was, the remains of the Amazon village from Hercules and the Amazon Women; the curving stone staircases can be clearly seen, and the platform with a spiral staircase that Callisto stood beside when giving Hope the 'Gabby look' in Sacrifice 2, and from which an Amazon sentry threw a spear at Aphrodite in Love Amazon Style. These clearings have also been used for, among many scenes, the 'capture' scene in Ides of March, Hercules talking to Morrigan in Darkness Rising, and a host of others.

 
Looking down on the upper valley The capture scene in Ides of March
 
 
Where did that woodwork come from? (Sacrifice 2) Callisto's spiral staircase looks just as incongruous in real life
 

South Island

The South Island has never been used for filming an episode, but we think that some time, very early in the series, PacRen must have taken Kevin Sorbo and Lucy plus a camera crew down to South Island for a couple of days and had them run past the camera to create some stock footage, which they've used at intervals as continuity shots ever since.

Mitre Peak on Milford Sound also crops up in the background in several episodes, such as Past Imperfect.

 
A South Island mountain range is the very first scene
in Sins of the Past
Aidan's house enjoys a nice view of Mitre Peak
 

Waterfalls

There were three things which were a source of niggling discontent to us as location hunters. One was the location of The Debt, one was lakes, and the biggest one was waterfalls. Well, The Debt we've found (see the Central Plateau page), the lakes have turned out to be mostly the remarkably ubiquitous lake at Sturges Road with an assist from Lake Okaihau - but the waterfalls remained to plague us. Somehow Pacific Renaissance's scouts found, within easy distance of Auckland, a number of waterfalls that we just couldn't find!

Since then, though, hunting waterfalls for their own sake has turned up quite a number of the waterfalls featured, enough to justify their own page here.

(For more waterfalls, not necessarily associated with Herc or Xena, there's a page here.)

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